It's a sad statistic that New Zealand has the highest rate of melanoma in the world. If you or your workers work outdoors, know the risks and how to manage them.
WorkSafe has some sun safety myths to bust in the workplace:
Myth 1: When you can’t see or feel the sun, you are safe and can’t get burnt.
FALSE – we can’t see or feel UV radiation. Sunlight or warmth from the sun is not the same as UV radiation. The radiation from the sun does not provide light that we can see, or heat that we can feel, so your skin can burn even if it feels cool.
Myth 2: Wearing PPE is an inconvenience and difficult to enforce with workers.
FALSE – wearing PPE or protective clothing can be an inconvenience if it is not the right fit for the job. However, choosing the right PPE and protective clothing for the job minimises inconvenience and discomfort.
Myth 3: Sunscreen provides enough protection on its own.
FALSE – sunscreen is limited in the amount of protection it can provide and should not be the only form of sun protection. It must be applied correctly over all exposed areas and reapplied regularly as it wears off (especially after coming into contact with water).
Myth 4: I haven’t used sun protection before and it’s too late now to start.
FALSE – sun damage adds up, meaning the more we are exposed, the greater the risk. It is never too late to start protecting skin and eyes against UV radiation.
Myth 5: I have developed a gradual sun tan without burning so I am better protected from the sun.
FALSE – a sun tan is an indicator that the skin is trying to protect itself from UV radiation exposure. It does this by creating more pigment which provides a very small SPF. While the sun tan is present, it provides a very small amount of protection from future sunburn. However, the cell damage caused by this process can be enough to cause skin cancer. Overall, the risk of being harmed outweighs the small and short-lived benefit of the sun tan.
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